Public involvement or community relations activities have become essential to environmental remediation projects. The key to success for these programs is to identify community and stakeholder concerns and needs early on and address them through an effective outreach program that can result in a win-win outcome for those involved. A three-phase community outreach approach is used to identify and develop proactive community outreach strategies and programs. In the first phase, a community assessment is performed to obtain the input needed to develop an effective community outreach plan. The second phase consists of providing project information and building community involvement at the beginning of site remediation. The third phase consists of continuing and dynamic two-way communication activities during site remediation, based on knowledge gathered and rapport built during Phases 1 and 2. This paper presents this three-phase approach and discusses in more detail how the information obtained from the community assessment can be transformed into a successful community involvement strategy. This paper illustrates this approach with a hypothetical military base example, based on actual projects. The Shaw Group Inc. subsidiary, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc. (Shaw), develops a base-wide community involvement plan and begins its implementation in support of remediation activities. The community involvement plan is typically a multi-faceted approach designed to identify the most effective methods to share information between project staff and base stakeholders and to foster community involvement in a remediation project. Not only is public involvement in remediation programs mandated by federal laws, but regulators, elected officials, and military entities have learned through past experiences that, in the long run, it is better on all fronts to inform and include community stakeholders early in and throughout the remediation process. Early information and involvement educates communities about environmental impacts and provides them with opportunities to have input to remediation activities regarding land that may be turned over to the community either in the short- or long-term future.
- Nuclear Engineering Division and Environmental Engineering Division
Being Ahead of the Game: Public Involvement and Community Relations Before and During Environmental Projects
Roos, E, & Stahl, LPM. "Being Ahead of the Game: Public Involvement and Community Relations Before and During Environmental Projects." Proceedings of the ASME 2003 9th International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation. 9th ASME International Conference on Radioactive Waste Management and Environmental Remediation: Volumes 1, 2, and 3. Oxford, England. September 21–25, 2003. pp. 1709-1713. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/ICEM2003-4993
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